1 Wing Commander

Colonel CA (Chris) McKenna, OMM, MSC, MSM, CD

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Colonel CA (Chris) McKenna, OMM, MSC, MSM, CD

Colonel McKenna was born in Montreal, Quebec and joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1994 as an infantry reservist, transferring to the Regular Force under the ROTP plan in 1995. He received a degree in Chemical and Materials Engineering, from the Royal Military College of Canada in 1999.

Colonel McKenna earned his RCAF pilot wings in 2002 and has commanded at the Flight, Squadron, Wing and Task Force level, serving with 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron in Edmonton, Alberta, 427 Special Operations Aviation Squadron in Petawawa, Ontario, 430 escadron tactique d'hélicoptères in Valcartier, Quebec, and 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron in Petawawa, Ontario.

Colonel McKenna has served in a variety of staff positions including postings in RCAF HQ and in the Canadian Joint Operations Command HQ.

He deployed to Bosnia- Herzegovina on Operation PALLADIUM, flying in support of the NATO Stabilization Force in 2003/2004, as well as serving two deployments to Kandahar, Afghanistan, first as a CANSOFCOM Special Operations Liaison Officer in 2005/2006 and again as a CH147D Chinook Flight Commander in 2010/2011 under Operation ATHENA. In 2018/ 2019, he was deployed as the Commander of Canada’s Air Task Force in Mali as part of Operation PRESENCE, Canada’s contribution to Peace Support Operations in Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

From 2014 to 2016, Colonel McKenna commanded 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron, fielding and operationalizing the RCAF’s newest fleet of 15 CH147F helicopters. He then served as the Director of Air Plans in RCAF HQ from 2017 to 2020. Colonel McKenna took Command of 1 Wing, Canada’s Tactical Aviation Wing, on 29 July 2020.

Colonel McKenna has over 2600 flying hours on CH146 Griffon and CH147D/ CH147F Chinook helicopters. He is a graduate of the Army Operations Course at the Canadian Army Command and Staff College and is a graduate of the Joint Command and Staff Programme, and the National Security Programme both delivered by the Canadian Forces College. He holds a Master’s Degree in Defence Studies from the Royal Military College of Canada and he was promoted to his current rank in 2017.

Col McKenna has been inducted as an Officer of the Order of Military Merit (OMM) and has been awarded the Meritorious Service Cross (MSC), the Meritorious Service Medal (MSM), as well as the Medal of Merit, in Bronze, from the Kingdom of the Netherlands.